Monday, May 9, 2011

All-Natural High

 It's been a little over a week since Jeremy installed our colony of bees.  Jeremy contemplated the task while brushing the sides of the "package" with sugar syrup to calm the bees.  He chose to go suitless and gloveless for the install.  Bees in a package are less defensive than ordinarily because they don't technically have a home to protect, and if you feed them some sugar syrup they feel even better about life.

In a different vein Jeremy wanted to feel "in control" and not clumsy when in stalling the bees.  The gloves particularly make that more difficult.

 I stayed outside to watch Jeremy, along with the baby who would not allow me to put him down after the 6-hour car ride.  We didn't stand too close, but we did send the older boys inside to watch from the window.  Just in case.

 It was a little tough to get the syrup can out of the package, but once it was out bees started flying out.

 We chose the "chicken method" of installing our colony which involves taking out a few of the frames and just placing the whole package of bees inside, putting the hive lid on and leaving them to get out on their own.

A number of people have asked us how you know the bees are going "like" their new home and take to it.  There were two things we did to encourage this.  We installed the package in the early evening when the bees have a natural inclination to want to bunker down for the night as opposed to gather the whole colony to go swarm in a nearby tree or something.  Also we brushed down all the inner frames with the sugar water--and what bee can resist that?

 Jeremy took a few minutes to watch the little bees start exploring their new home just a bit. Then he came inside riding an all-natural adrenaline high.

He paced back and forth in the front room telling me how it felt to be there and open the package with his heart racing.  To have the bees fly out and around, some of them landing on his arms just as curious about him as he was about them.  And to have done it, completed the task, done something real that was a goal we've been scheming about, and supporting a modern idea of food production that we believe in. 

He said this must be why boys these days play video games and jump out of airplanes--they are missing out on the types of experiences that mankind used to participate in simply to provide for their basic physical needs.  People today don't get that rush of exhilaration from interacting with wild but beneficial insects, or hunting down an animal to feed your family, or looking at a shelf full of the fruits of their labor guaranteed to provide for the-as of yet unseen, but guaranteed to come-needs of their family. 

Here's to hoping that our children don't feel the need to seek out man made highs, but that can experience the natural thrill that comes from wrangling nature to directly provide for some of their own needs. 

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